Off to a false start: Windows 8.1 will feature a Start button after all

  • @jjvincent

Microsoft has confirmed that the latest edition of their Windows operating system will include a Start button after all.

The feature was absent from previous versions of Windows 8 – the latest operating system from Microsoft – and users complained about its loss. 

However, this new button - dubbed the ‘Start tip’ - won’t be identical to the start button that most of us associate with Windows. It will still be located in the traditional position – in the lower left-hand corner of the desktop – but won’t bring up the usual Start menu.

Clicking on the ‘tip’ will instead take users to the Start screen – a customisable screen that uses Windows 8’s signature tiled layout. Like the Start menu, the Start screen can list a user’s most commonly used applications, but is also provides a hub for other information like calendars, weather and social media updates.

Although user feedback for Windows 8 has been poor the company have maintained that they are being “principled, not stubborn” when it comes to modifying the user experience.

Many customers have complained about the lack of continuity between previous iterations of Windows and Microsoft’s latest OS. The start button was a literal icon of this disjuncture, present in the software since Windows 95, and despite selling more than 100 million licenses, many see Windows 8 as a failure.

However, this isn’t all Microsoft’s fault, especially when considering the poor state of the PC market. Shipment of traditional computers is expected to fall by 8 per cent this year and Microsoft’s Surface – the companies attempt to create a hybrid form combining laptop and tablet – has only taken 2 per cent of the tablet market.